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Never Back Down [2008] [PG-13] - 4.6.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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A young man (Sean Faris) moves with his family to Florida where his young brother (Wyatt Smith) will attend an exclusive tennis training school. Trying to fit in at his own new school proves difficult when his past is uncovered and he is enticed into an underground fighting club run by one of the students. Also with Amber Heard, Djimon Hounsou, Cam Gigandet, Evan Peters, Charlie Tyler and Leslie Hope. Directed by Jeff Wadlow. [1:46]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - Two teenage girls sit in a bubble bath (covered to the shoulders) at a party and kiss; people stand around watching, one teenage boy films them, and they get out of the tub (we see their bare backs and bikini bottoms).
 A teenage girl play-fights with a teenage boy, who flips her onto the floor (gently), straddles her, holding her hands to the floor, and she flips him over and straddles him (we see part of her lace panties when her shorts pull down a bit and cleavage when she leans over the boy); they then kiss, and they are interrupted by the boy's younger brother.
 Teenage girls are shown wearing bikinis that reveal cleavage, bare abdomens, backs and legs in several scenes. Teenage boys and young men are shown bare-chested in beach scenes and workout scenes. Teenage girls are shown wearing low-cut tops and dresses that reveal cleavage and bare shoulders and backs in several scenes.
 A teenage boy and a teenage girl kiss in a few scenes. A teenage boy and a teenage girl kiss, and she kisses his shoulder as he walks in front of her. A teenage boy kisses a teenage girl while another teenage boy watches (he's jealous).
 Young women swoon over fighters while they fight. A teenage girl and a teenage boy flirt in several scenes. A teenage boy winks flirtatiously at another teenage boy.
 A teenage boy says, "Babes are one thing better than brawling."

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A teenage boy strikes another teenage boy hard in the head a couple of times, then punches him in the face, the boy falls to the floor and is then punched repeatedly in the face (we do not see the impact but we hear it, and the beaten boy ends up in the hospital with bruises and stitches and we hear that he has a broken nose and ribs).
 Two teenage boys fight: one is punched and kicked in the face and ribs and legs, one is slammed onto the hood of a car, and then onto pavement (we hear him groan and moan), one is held around the throat until he nearly passes out and one is kicked hard in the face (he falls to the ground and we see blood spray from his mouth); they both end up with bloody mouths and noses, and bruised faces.
 A crowd of people in a club chant, "Beat down" in anticipation of a series of fights: the fights begin and we see several bouts with people punching, kicking and wrestling each other, and one fighter is kicked in the head and knocked out (several fighters are shown with bloody noses and eyes); one fight shows a fighter being kneed in the head and another being elbowed in the nose, one fighter is kicked hard in the ribs (we see a flash of his ribs and spine and hear a crack), one fighter twists the ankle of another (we hear cracking) and a fighter is gouged in the eye (we see a bit of blood).
 A teenage boy fights three men with punches and kicks (we see bloody noses) and one man is slammed into the side mirror of a car (the fight is videotaped and we see it several more times).
 A teenage boy makes a disparaging remark about another teenage boy's father (a reference to driving while under the influence of alcohol), the insulted boy charges him, they fight and many other teenage boys join in: we see punching and kicking and we see one boy with a bandage on his forehead and a taped hand afterward (we see this fight a few more times on video).
 A teenage boy taunts another teenage boy into fighting him: they fight, and one kicks the other on the leg twice, then on the other leg, they continue to punch and kick each other and one is kicked hard in the face (he's knocked unconscious and we see him spit out blood after the impact; we see the boy in the morning with a bloody nose and a very bruised and swollen eye).
 A crowd of teenagers watch several arranged fights between teenage boys, teenage girls, and a teenage boy and a teenage girl, and we see punching and kicking in the face and stomach.
 Two teenage boys fight in a bathroom, and one is kicked hard in the leg and then held on the floor by the other boy's foot, which is on his throat. Two teenage boys fight with punches and kicks, another boy sees them, tries to stop them, punches one fighter in the face and a fighter punches him in the face, and he leaves (one boy is shown with a bloody nose and a black eye later). A teenage boy fights a young man in a training session: they kick and punch each other, one is slammed to the mat several times and one is held around the throat until he is unconscious.
 There are several fight training session scenes that show people being kicked and punched and slammed down on a mat, with eventual tap outs during painful holds.
 A father slaps his teenage son in the face and berates him in front of a group of other teens.
 A teenage boy grabs a teenage girl by the arm, and another teenage boy defends her (they don't fight).
 We see several hard tackles during a high school football game (it doesn't appear that anyone is injured). A teenage girl play-fights with a teenage boy who flips her onto the floor (gently).
 We hear that a man had a fight in a bar and that the man who lost later returned and shot the other man in the head, killing him. We hear that a man drove while drunk and that he ended up driving off the road and hitting a tree and he was killed. A teenage boy complains about being angry all the time.
 A teenage boy and his mother argue bitterly in several scenes. A teenage boy and a man argue a couple of times.
 A young boy has a black eye from being struck by a tennis ball. Two teenage boys drink glasses of raw eggs and one spits them out into a sink (we hear a gagging noise like he's vomiting).

PROFANITY 5 - 1 F-word, 12 scatological terms, 13 anatomical terms, 14 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for homosexuals, name-calling (jerk, punks, idiot). [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - Teenagers drink alcohol at a party and that includes playing drinking games. We hear that a man drove while drunk and that he ended up driving off the road and hitting a tree and he was killed. We see several flashback sequences of a man exiting a bar and seeming drunk.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Mixed martial arts, no holds barred fighting, death of a parent, death of a sibling, driving under the influence, fitting in, guilt, anger, betrayal, regret, popularity, dealing with emotions, revenge, consequences, forgiveness, take responsibility for your actions.

MESSAGE - Running away from problems will not make them go away.

Special Keywords: S4 - V6 - P5 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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